My Checkbook Mistress

I like my money. I like my house. Every now and again those two passions will cancel each other out. Tonight, well actually tonight is the culmination of many other nights of trouble, but nonetheless…Tonight, I am on my knees in the bathtub wrestling a stem wrench with both hands trying to repair a leak. Without reservation I can declare that this is the last DIY of my advanced-stage life. From here on out someone else will endure bruised knuckles, broken finger nails, bloodied and scratched-to-the-bone household repair wounds. Kneeling in these two inches of muck-water I have come to understand what my, now-deceased (but not related to a household repair), neighbor, Jim, meant years ago, when he said, “Your house is like a Checkbook Mistress. It’s the only reason that I get checks printed. I need to track who I’m paying and where I’m buying it from.”

I was married when the house was purchased. Things have changed in that regard and a large part of the demise seemed to center around repairing one or the other of these old girls. (It’s okay, she doesn’t read the blog…AND, if I want her know…I’ll send her the link!).

In thirteen years of homeownership in this modest Ranch-style 4/3/3 there have been eight internal paintings, a hand-built perimeter fence (you know who hammered it out), a kitchen makeover, two interesting bathroom remodels and three window replacements. The second bathroom remodel is not exactly “Bob Villa-Finished”, but since you’re not visiting before Christmas, let’s call a parlay. I’m currently undergoing the search for carpet replacement and you should read into that sentence:  If you know a guy with some leftovers at a build out or a Maintenance guy at an apartment complex with gambling issues…well, there’s $50 bucks in it for a successful “introduction”.

Truly, this is the last self imposed honey-do that my pre-geriatric, man-cave surrendering soul can take. It’s not that I lack the skill. That perimeter fence is eleven years old this Summer and, other than a few missing slats, is as solid a workmanship as will ever grace a DIY slideshow. I have enough tools to choke a Gov’ment mule (SPCA should not be notified. That mule was near dead when I bought it to plow/fertilize a would-be garden). I’m skilled at finding bargains and own two Jeeps with which to haul it all home… and, years later, to the dump. The hard cold fact is that I am tired of fixing it up!

I must confess that it was scary every year of wedded bliss to find myself sliding along the roof line toward certain death before being slowed by the friction of my belly on those shingles! I confess that for years I have been afraid of roof-rats and monster squirrels that got chased out of the crawl space (mainly with my high-pitched girl-like shrieking) when my ex-spouse slammed the access door behind me! Lastly, I confess that I paid that elderly Mexican guy in the 1973 second-hand white panel van from the 7-11 parking lot to do some of this stuff toward the end of the marriage: (sprinkler system, garage door spring tightening, CHRISTMAS LIGHTS on the back of the house, gutters, trash can holders with wheels, sheet rock patch, faux painting a wall, etc.)

Jas C MardisAnd, YES, moving forward I will be seeking out that puttering, sputtering, gas guzzling white-ish beacon of DIY-proxy every Saturday morning from now until the grave-digger takes my measurements. You see, he never cheats me and always cleans up after himself as he takes my easily and happily written, if barely used, check and backs out of the driveway on his way to the bank.

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